Jonathan Leko has revealed that he has been in conversation numerous times with Slaven Bilic since returning to West Brom for treatment on a ligament injury.
The 20-year-old struggled to impress Bilic in pre-season, and was subsequently sent out on loan to Charlton Athletic in the latter stages of the summer transfer window.
Leko became a key player for Lee Bowyer’s side, scoring five goals in 21 Championship appearances for the Addicks, before suffering a huge injury blow.
The attacker ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament in a 2-2 draw with Queens Park Rangers in December, and he has since returned to the Hawthorns for treatment on the injury.
But Leko hasn’t been forgotten about since returning to the West Midlands outfit, with Bilic on hand to offer support to the homegrown forward.
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Via the Express and Star, Leko said: “Slaven has had a chat with me a few times since I’ve been back.
“He’s just told me to get my mind right and focus on getting back and obviously once I’ve recovered, I look forward to pushing to get back in the team.
“When I start going back in the gym and running about, then maybe I can start thinking about the possibility of getting back a bit earlier than expected.
“But I’ve only just started walking so we’ll see how it goes. I was close to a couple of the physios before but I am a lot closer to them now and I’ll be getting to know them a lot better.”
West Brom continue to lead the way in the Sky Bet Championship despite being held to a late 2-2 draw against Nottingham Forest at the weekend.
The Baggies sit seven points clear of third place and face Bristol City at the weekend at Ashton Gate.
Bilic seems like a really good coach and it’s great of him to keep Leko’s morale high despite never being involved in his plans originally.
He was impressive for Charlton before his injury and that should give him confidence going forward, but an injury as serious as his could really knock him.
He needs to keep his head down, keep on working hard and maybe he could be a key player for Bilic’s side, even if they do reach the Premier League this term.